RENT: Portrayal of Drug Abuse and Withdrawal

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The movie RENT covers many topics that could be considered controversial, including the concept of substance abuse and dependence. One of the main characters, Mimi, is a regular user of Heroin. Heroin, being a highly addictive narcotic, leads Mimi to experience Heroin withdrawal syndrome, showing symptoms like cramping, sweating, and chills. In the movie, Mimi starts out by occasionally using the drug, which shows how she just was abusing the drug, but due to the fact that Heroin is extremely addictive, the abuse soon turned to dependence. While watching it is very apparent that she craves the drug psychologically and physically, for she cannot stop herself from continuing to abuse the drug.

From 0:47 - 2:05 this clip shows bursts of how Mimi is so dependent on the drug that she is going through withdrawals. The way that the concept of drug abuse, dependence, and withdrawals is very accurate, due to the properties of Heroin. Heroin users can not go very long without the drug before they experience "heroin withdrawal syndrome", as described earlier. Usually, one can only go up to six hours without an additional dose before the negative symptoms start. Due to the fact that at this point in the plot Mimi is trying to get away from the drug all together, her symptoms are very extreme.

Even though the concepts are portrayed very well, I would not necessarily recommend watching the movie for this purpose, or just to see the effects of the heroin, because it is a subplot and does not focus on the drug abuse very much. In the movie, you can see that Mimi is not in a good state. You can tell she is in pain by the way she is shaking and is sweating and is bent over in agony. Although this may seem extreme to those who don't know about the drug, this is accurate to what withdrawal may be like for those dependent on heroin.

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Although rent has a good scene with Mimi to show the withdrawal someone can go through due to drugs, I would argue that there are at least two other movies that are better. Those movies are Requiem for a Dream and Transpotting. Both of these movies were made more than 10 years ago but they are among some of my favorites.

Requiem for a Dream is about a group of friends that attempt to make it big in illegal drug trade. They end up getting in over their heads and too addicted to make things work. It is a tragic story but a good one none the less.

Then, Trainspotting is about a group of friends in Edinburgh also trying to make money. Things don't end up so well for the entire group and eventually the main character goes cold turkey to break his addiction.

As much as I love the musical Rent I think that these other two movies better show how messed up people can become because of addiction.

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This page contains a single entry by hugge014 published on October 23, 2011 7:52 PM.

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